Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Torturing the property manager and guys over 50??

OK...I admit it. I thought having a urinal 18" from the floor was a challenge...I mean it's a challenge for me with my 56 year old prostate! (I know too much information). Anyway....I was thinking it was put this low for the occasional 5 year old that might show up once every year or so.

Wrong....and I thank Tony Yunker with GBBN for changing my paradigm. The reason the urinal is like this is it accommodates someone in a wheelchair....and I honestly had just not thought about that. In 2002, I was in a bad bike wreck and drove my femur thru my pelvis. This was a BIG DEAL and after it was miraculously repaired by the best orthopedic trauma surgeon in West Virginia (Dave Hubbard...Ruby Memorial), I was confined to a wheel chair for a month or so.

I really learned what barrier free means and committed to always have my projects respond to folks with disabilities. It might be a very small percentage of the population...but if it's you, it's a big deal.

I'm glad this project was built to be responsive and I'm glad GBBN kept us on track. The American with Disabilties Act might seem like a pain sometimes, but one needs to get out of their own skin from time to time and take a view from the other side of the street, so to speak. This is a law we should all embrace.

4 comments:

Rick Lee said...

My wife had a bad leg break a few years ago and we found out really quick how crappy wheelchair access can be. Can you really use a urinal from a wheelchair? scratching head

Dave Pray said...

Rick-Tony says you can and he sort of gave me a demonstration. Tony????

tyunker said...

I generalized a bit on the wheelchair issues. While most of the dimensions within a toilet room are based on a wheelchair such as floor space, turning radius, max height for controls, etc, the complete design is referred to as universal design. This means that for many different users such as wheelchair, cane, sight impaired and even height impaired, which I can relate to at 5'-6". So the design for the urinal incorporates two critical dimensions:
1. 13 1/2" min from wall which can provide an extension for "leg space" while in a wheelchair.
2. 17" max from floor for those of shorter stature or in a wheelchair.

Do those dimensions provide access to ALL in wheelchairs or short stature?
I cannot answer, and leave that up to the authors of the accessibility guidelines.

T Seibert said...

Tony, Measuring in at 5'-6", I hardly consider myself height impaired! But I do consider myself lucky that we don't have to deal with the issue at hand on the other side of the hall!